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Cablegate: Japanese Morning Press Highlights 09/12/08

DE RUEHKO #2507/01 2560117
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E.O. 12958: N/A


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Opinion polls:
1) Aso likely to win in the first ballot with survey showing 60
PERCENT of LDP lawmakers ready to cast their ballots for him in the
LDP presidential election (Sankei)
2) Asahi spot poll shows 42 PERCENT of the public back Aso in the
upcoming Lower House election, with 53 PERCENT giving his
"effectiveness" as reason for support (Asahi)
3) Yomiuri poll gives Aso the election nod with 59 PERCENT of
public favoring him over DPJ rival Ozawa, who netted 28 PERCENT
4) Internet poll shows Japanese favor Obama for U.S. president

Election campaigning:
5) Taro Aso in campaign speeches promised to spend fiscal money to
boost the economy, while rival Kaoru Yosano promises to raise the
consumption tax (Nikkei)
6) Poll: Aso grabs lead among LDP presidential candidates as person
to lead LDP into Lower House election (Yomiuri)
7) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to sponsor 200 official
candidates in expected Lower House election (Sankei)
8) DPJ President Ozawa begins nationwide stumping tour in
preparation for next Lower House election (Asahi)

War on terror:
9) Government to put in every effort to pass bill extending MSDF
refueling mission in the Indian Ocean (Yomiuri)
10) U.S. understands Japan's reason for withdrawing MSDF from
transport service in Iraq (Yomiuri)
11) With U.S. troop shift from Iraq to Afghanistan, Japan may be
asked by U.S. to help foot the bill for the expanded operations
12) With ASDF withdrawing from Iraq, and MSDF oil refueling service
in Indian Ocean in doubt, Japan has reached crossroads in efforts to
back war on terror (Tokyo Shimbun)
13) Iraq withdrawal decision received with surprise and relief

14) Controversial Aircraft washer likely to be moved at Kadena base
this month (Okinawa Times)


1) Poll: Aso secures 60 PERCENT of LDP lawmaker votes

SANKEI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 12, 2008

The ruling Liberal Democratic Party has kicked off a race to elect
its new president as the successor to Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda.
In the run-up to the party election set for Sept. 22, LDP Secretary
General Taro Aso, 67, a candidate running from his faction in the
LDP and up for his fourth challenge, is now certain to garner 230
votes among the LDP's 387 lawmakers, having already secured 60
PERCENT , the Sankei Shimbun found yesterday from its survey.

The LDP also allocates a balloting slot of three votes to each of
its prefectural federations, adding up to 141 votes. On the local
side as well, Aso is reportedly leading all other candidates. As it
stands, Aso is highly likely to garner a majority of the votes in

TOKYO 00002507 002 OF 010

the first ballot. The other four candidates are desperately trying
for a roll back. The focus is whether they can slide into a

The survey was conducted Sept. 10-11 by interviewing each
candidate's camp, each LDP faction's leadership, and LDP lawmakers.
The Sankei Shimbun tabulated survey results in its own way.

According to findings from the survey, Aso has gained a wide range
of support from various factions in the LDP. He has now secured a
majority of 194 votes plus more than 20 votes among the LDP's
lawmakers in the Diet's lower and upper chambers. The second
runner-up is Economic and Fiscal Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano, 70,
unaffiliated with any faction, and he has secured around 50 votes.
Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike, 56, running from the Machimura
faction, former LDP Policy Research Council Chairman Nobuteru
Ishihara, 51, up from the Yamasaki faction, and former Defense
Minister Shigeru Ishiba, 51, of the Tsushima faction, have also
secured 20-30 votes. The voting attitudes of 20-30 LDP lawmakers are
still unclear.

Broken down into factions, Aso is supported by all of the Nikai
faction and is also supported by almost all of the Ibuki, Aso, and
Koumura factions. In the third-largest Koga faction, its chairman,
LDP Election Strategy Council Chairman Makoto Koga, and more than
half support Aso. In the Tsushima and Yamasaki factions as well,
nearly a majority of their members clarified their support for Aso.

2) Poll: 42 PERCENT back Aso in LDP race

ASAHI (Page 1) (Abridged)
September 12, 2008

In the wake of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's announcement of
its presidential election, the Asahi Shimbun conducted a
telephone-based spot nationwide public opinion survey. There are
five candidates, and respondents were asked to pick the most
appropriate one for prime minister. In this survey, LDP Secretary
General Taro Aso ranked top at 42 PERCENT , outdistancing the other
four. The second-ranking candidate was former LDP Policy Research
Council Chairman Nobuteru Ishihara, standing at 10 PERCENT . Former
Defense Minister Yuriko Koike was at 8 PERCENT , Economic and Fiscal
Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano at 6 PERCENT , and former Defense
Minister Shigeru Ishiba at 3 PERCENT .

In the survey, respondents were also asked if they were interested
in the LDP presidential election. In response to this question,
"yes" came from 61 PERCENT , which was lower than the 69 PERCENT at
the time of the previous LDP race after Prime Minister Abe's
resignation last year. Respondents were further asked about their
impression of the LDP in the ongoing presidential race. Only 11
PERCENT answered that it has improved, with 21 PERCENT saying it
has worsened and 65 PERCENT saying it remains unchanged. In the
breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP stood at
29 PERCENT (29 PERCENT in the last survey taken Sept. 2-3), with
the leading opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto) at 19
PERCENT (21 PERCENT in the last survey).

3) Poll: 59 PERCENT favor Aso for premiership, Ozawa at 28 PERCENT

YOMIURI (Top play) (Abridged)

TOKYO 00002507 003 OF 010

September 12, 2008

In the wake of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party's recent kick-off
of its presidential election, the Yomiuri Shimbun conducted a
telephone-based spot nationwide public opinion survey on Sept.
10-11. Five candidates, including LDP Secretary General Taro Aso,
are running in the LDP race. In the survey, respondents were asked
who they thought would be appropriate for prime minister between
each of the five and Ichiro Ozawa, president of the leading
opposition Democratic Party of Japan (Minshuto). In response to this
question, 59 PERCENT chose Aso, with 28 PERCENT opting for Ozawa
in the head-to-head comparison of the two.

Respondents were also asked who they thought would be the most
appropriate person for the LDP presidency among the five candidates.
Aso topped all others at 49 PERCENT , followed by former LDP Policy
Research Council Chairman Nobuteru Ishihara at 12 PERCENT , former
Defense Minister Yuriko Koike at 8 PERCENT , Economic and Fiscal
Policy Minister Kaoru Yosano at 6 PERCENT , and former Defense
Minister Shigeru Ishiba at 4 PERCENT .

In the breakdown of public support for political parties, the LDP
stood at 43.4 PERCENT , up 8.3 percentage points from 35.1 PERCENT
in a telephone-based spot survey taken Aug. 1-2 after Prime Minister
Fukuda's shuffle of his cabinet. The figures can be taken as
reflecting the LDP presidential race and its effects. The DPJ was at
26.3 PERCENT , up 1.7 points. In addition, respondents were further
asked which political party they would like to vote for in the next
election for the House of Representatives in their proportional
representation blocs. To this question, 39 PERCENT chose the LDP,
with 33 PERCENT preferring the DPJ. The difference between the two
parties is smaller than that between their respective public support
ratings, and the LDP presidential race's effects seem unlikely to
directly affect the public's voting attitude.

4) Majority of respondents in Internet survey favor Obama as next
U.S. president

SANKEI (Page 6) (Full)
September 12, 2008

Almost a majority of respondents answering an Internet questionnaire
predicted that Senator Barack Obama, the Democratic Party's
candidate, would become the next American president.

The survey was conducted from Aug. 25 through Sept. 5 on the
Internet and received replies from about 11,100 people. Survey
results were released by the Nippon Foundation. Asked about which
candidate would become the next U.S. president, 48.6 PERCENT
favored Obama, while only 13.3 PERCENT picked Senator John McCain.

Asked about what would happen to Japan-U.S. relations if Obama
assumed the presidency, 20.3 PERCENT replied that relations would
become better, while 25.5 PERCENT gave negative replies. Asked
about bilateral relations if McCain became president, 14 PERCENT
said relations would become better, while 25.6 PERCENT were

5) Aso pledges aggressive use of fiscal disbursements, while Yosano
promises consumption tax hike in three years, in policy addresses in
LDP presidency race

TOKYO 00002507 004 OF 010

NIKKEI (Page 1) Full)
September 12, 2008

Five candidates for the Liberal Democratic Party presidency to
succeed Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda gave addresses on economic,
fiscal and other policies before party members at LDP headquarters
yesterday. Secretary General Taro Aso emphasized: "I will take a
three-stage economic approach - pump priming for the time being,
fiscal reconstruction over the medium term, and economic growth in
the mid- to long-term term." State Minister in charge of Economic
and Fiscal Policy Kaoru Yosano stressed the need to raise the
consumption tax by 2-3 PERCENT as measures to rebuild the nation's

Stressing three years would be needed to bring the economy back on a
solid recovery track, Aso said: "I will support the economy by
taking every possible means," adding that he would use fiscal
disbursements in an effective way. Aso also remarked that he would
aim to reconstruct the fiscal system by increasing tax revenues
through economic revitalization, but he did not refer to any
specific tax-increase measures.

To maintain the current social security system, Yosano said that an
increase in the consumption tax is inevitable, stressing the need to
raise the tax to 10 PERCENT by 2015. But he added: "Different tax
rates should be imposed on daily living necessaries and goods people
need to buy every month."

Former Policy Research Council Chairman Nobuteru Ishihara labeled
the three years from now as an intensive reform period and said: "I
am determined to build an independent welfare state only addressing
(a hike in) the consumption tax as the overall finish of sweeping
tax reform." Former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike stated: "There are
other things we should do before raising the consumption tax."
Former Defense Minister Shigeru Ishiba just said: "A hike in the
consumption tax in the future is unavoidable, along with reviews of
the direct-indirect tax ratio and of the progressive tax-rate

6) Poll: Aso grabs lead among LDP presidential candidates as person
to lead LDP into Lower House election

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
September 12, 2008

A Yomiuri nationwide telephone opinion poll, conducted on Sept.
10-11, on the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) presidential election
found that Secretary General Taro Aso had gained a great advantage
over the four other candidates when the question was asked who would
be most suitable as the one to lead the LDP into the next House of
Representatives election in a head-to-head match with Ichiro Ozawa,
president of the Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ), the largest
opposition party.

Fifty-nine percent also said that Aso would be more suitable to
become prime minister than Ozawa. Ozawa secured only 28 PERCENT of
the public's support. By age, about 80 PERCENT of respondents in
their twenties picked Aso. By sex, Aso garnered 64 PERCENT of
female respondents support, while Ozawa secured 22 PERCENT .

Forty-seven percent of unaffiliated voters said that they wanted Aso
to become prime minister, while 25 PERCENT preferred Ozawa. Since

TOKYO 00002507 005 OF 010

nonaligned voters are believed to be the key factor for winning the
next Lower House election, if an Aso-led government is inaugurated,
it will likely become a threat to the Ozawa-led DPJ.

How its own supporters will respond is a potential concern for the
largest opposition party because 30 PERCENT of DPJ supporters said
that they preferred Aso, although 61 PERCENT answered Ozawa would
be more suitable than Aso. It seems that all DPJ supporters will not
necessarily vote in the general election for the party of Ozawa, who
has just been reelected for a third term as DPJ president.

The poll found only 9 PERCENT percent of LDP supporters replying
that Ozawa would be more appropriate for the prime minister's post.
But 37 PERCENT of LDP supporters preferred Ozawa to Yuriko Koike,
32 PERCENT preferred Ozawa over Shigeru Ishiba, 30 PERCENT
preferred Ozawa to Kaoru Yosano, and 23 PERCENT preferred Ozawa to
Nobuteru Ishihara. It is apparent that with the exception of Aso,
none of four LDP presidential candidates are seen as having the
capability to lead their party to victory in a head-to-head match
with the Ozawa-led party in a general election.

Sixty-one percent of LDP supporters found Aso suitable to become the
new LDP president. Aso was followed by Ishihara who secured 11
PERCENT , Koike with 8 PERCENT , Yosano with 5 PERCENT , and Ishiba
with 4 PERCENT .

By gender, Koike, who is the first Japanese woman to run for LDP
president, garnered only 9 PERCENT of female supporters, coming in
third after Aso and Ishihara.

7) DPJ to announce today 200 official candidates as first batch for
Lower House election

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)
September 12, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa and other
party executives in a board meeting yesterday confirmed that the DPJ
will announce tomorrow its first pick of candidates for the next
House of Representatives election. Although the DPJ has informally
endorsed 246 candidates, including incumbent lawmakers and new-face
candidates, it plans to reduce the number of candidates to about

Secretary General Yukio Hatoyama, after the meeting, told reporters:
"We will endorse those who will be able to win." The aim is to gear
up those who are delayed in their preparations for the race. The DPJ
aims to field a total of 260 candidates eventually.

Attending the opening ceremony of the party's election headquarters
in Sapporo, Ozawa gave words of encouragement: "I want you to be
elected in all single-seat constituencies in Hokkaido where our
party's support base is strong. I also would like you to lead our
efforts to take over the reins of government."

In order to come up with a manifesto (set of campaign pledges) for
the next Lower House election, the DPJ plans to hold "manifesto
public hearings" to exchange views with voters across the nation,
starting next week.

8) DPJ President Ozawa starts nationwide stumping tour

TOKYO 00002507 006 OF 010

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)
September 12, 2008

Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) President Ichiro Ozawa arrived in
Sapporo yesterday, hitting the campaign road on his nationwide tour
for the first time after his reelection for a third term became
certain. The DPJ plans to announce about 200 candidates as its first
pick for the next House of Representatives election. With an early
Lower House election in mind, the largest opposition party is
accelerating preparations for that election.

Ozawa attended an opening ceremony of his party's Hokkaido election
headquarters and a rally hosted by the Japan Trade Union
Confederation (Rengo). In the rally, he stressed his determination
to take over the reins of government, saying: "I will do my best to
create new systems for the daily lives of people."

As the DPJ has a strong support base in Hokkaido, it won eight
single-seat constituency races but it lost four competitions. Ozawa
has started to strengthen the party's political base by
participating in meetings of industrial associations.

Ozawa will set full motion his nationwide stumping tour next week.
He is expected to attend meetings that the DPJ will hold in regional
areas in order to compile a manifesto (set of campaign pledges) for
the next Lower House election.

9) Government decides to end ASDF Iraq mission and make utmost
efforts to continue refueling mission, while stressing need to
eradicate terrorism in Afghanistan

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
September 12, 2008

The government announced yesterday a plan to withdraw before the end
of the year the Air Self-Defense Force troops deployed in Kuwait as
part of Japan's Iraq reconstruction assistance, putting an end to
the five years of the SDF's activities in Iraq. The government plans
to make all-out efforts for the continuation of the Maritime
Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean, slated
to expire next January. But given the strong opposition of the
Democratic Party of Japan, the largest party in the Upper House,
there are no prospects for the refueling mission bill to pass the

Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda yesterday explained this way to
reporters the reason for withdrawing the ASDF from Iraq: "The
security situation in Iraq has improved. I think the situation
allows us to consider pulling the SDF out of the country."

The government sent an ASDF advance unit to Kuwait in December 2003
based on the Iraq Special Measures Law that was enacted in July that
year. The ASDF has been airlifting troops and supplies between
Kuwait, Baghdad, and Arbil for the U.S.-led coalition forces. As of
Sept. 10 this year, the ASDF made 768 flights airlifting a total of
640 tons of supplies.

The Ground Self-Defense Force, too, carried out such reconstruction
support activities as providing medical support, repairing public
facilities, and providing clean water in the southeastern part of
Iraq. By its withdrawal from the country in July 2006, the GSDF
repaired a total 133 schools and medical facilities and provided

TOKYO 00002507 007 OF 010

53,500 tons of water.

The government's decision to end the ASDF mission was prompted by
the shift of weight to the war on terror in Afghanistan by the
United States and other countries.

The prime minister yesterday had this to say about Japan's
international cooperation after leaving Iraq: "The interest of the
international community is shifting to Afghanistan. We must
eradicate terrorism." He thus emphasized the plan to make utmost
efforts to contribute to the war on terror.

Nevertheless, sending SDF troops to Afghanistan is extremely
difficult as there is no legal basis. Japan's international
contributions would center on its refueling mission in the Indian
Ocean for the time being. As such, the prime minister pointed out
the need to continue the mission at all costs.

Five LDP presidential candidates are also calling for the
continuation of the refueling mission. Former LDP Vice President
Taku Yamasaki said: "The DPJ is opposed to the extension. We should
make this a campaign issue in the next Lower House election." But
even if the ruling coalition wins a majority in the next Lower House
election, there will be no change to the divided Diet in which the
opposition bloc controls the Upper House.

In anticipation of its being forced to suspend the refueling
mission, the government has begun studying its possible responses,
such as enhanced humanitarian and reconstruction assistance in

10) U.S. shows understanding to ASDF pullout

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)
September 12, 2008

Igarashi, Washington

The Japanese government announced yesterday that it would end the
Air Self-Defense Force's airlift mission in Iraq before the end of
the year. In response, the U.S. government released a statement
showing understanding to Japan's decision: "The SDF has made
important contributions to the coalition forces. Japan's sacrifice
will never be forgotten."

The statement released in the name of National Security Council
spokesman Gordon Johndroe emphasized that the security situation in
Iraq has improved owing to the reinforced U.S. troops and other
factors, while referring to Japan's withdrawal from Iraq as the
result of progress in that country.

11) U.S. military shifts weight from Iraq to Afghanistan, may ask
Japan to bear financial burden

ASAHI (Page 2) (Full)
September 12, 2008

While the security situation in Iraq is improving, the situation in
Afghanistan is worsening due to intensifying attacks by the
antigovernment Taliban.

The number of U.S. troops killed in fighting with the Taliban topped

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500 this year, more than the number in Iraq. The number of civilian
casualties also increased 60 PERCENT over last year.

The U.S. Bush administration has decided to withdraw 8,000 military
personnel from Iraq and to send 4,500 troops to Afghanistan. The
International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan has
also been reinforced, with its members now totaling 63,000. But the
situation is such that "We cannot say that we are about to win a
victory in the war in Afghanistan," as said by Admiral Mike Mullen,
chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs.

It is also necessary to shift funds to Afghanistan. U.S. Defense
Secretary Gates in congressional testimony on Sept. 10 expressed
hope that allies that have not dispatched troops will bear a heavier
financial burden. It is estimated that over one billion dollars will
be needed to strengthen Afghanistan's troops. The secretary's
reference to this topic itself reflects his strong hopes for allies'
financial assistance. The U.S. is expected to come to ask Japan to
shoulder a financial burden in exchange for the planned withdrawal
of Air Self-Defense Force troops from Iraq.

12) Japan's antiterrorism cooperation at crossroads; ASDF Iraq
mission to end; Continuation of refueling mission also uncertain

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Abridged slightly)
September 12, 2008

By Takayuki Shimizu

The government decided yesterday to end the Air Self-Defense Force's
mission in Iraq before the end of the year. As a result, the
Maritime Self-Defense Force's refueling mission in the Indian Ocean
will be Japan's only antiterrorism cooperation with the United
States. Whether the government can continue the refueling mission is
uncertain due to the divided Diet and opposition from the public.

Japan's decision to withdraw the ASDF comes from the fact that a UN
resolution serving as the basis for the ASDF mission expires at the
end of the year, that the security situation in Iraq has improved,
and that the U.S. government is shifting weight from Iraq to
Afghanistan in its antiterrorism measures.

Since the 9/11 attacks on the United States, Japan's international
contributions have been centered on three activities: the Ground
Self-Defense Force's reconstruction assistance in Iraq (ended in
2006), the ASDF's airlift mission, and the MSDF's refueling mission
in the Indian Ocean. With the ASDF pullout, the refueling mission
would be Japan's only overseas operation. The government is eager to
continue the refueling mission, with Defense Minister Yoshimasa
Hayashi saying, "Japan must not drop out of (the war on terror)."
The situation is severe, however.

To continue the refueling mission, the government and ruling
coalition intend to submit to the extraordinary Diet session in the
fall a bill amending the New Antiterrorism Special Measures Law
scheduled to expire in January. But there are cautious views not
only in the opposition bloc, which controls the Upper House, but
also in the New Komeito. Further, if the next prime minister
dissolves the Lower House at the outset of the next Diet session
after the LDP presidential election, the fate of the bill would
become even more uncertain.

TOKYO 00002507 009 OF 010

The question is widespread in the public as to why Japan has to
provide the vessels of the United States and other countries with
fuel free of charge when crude oil prices are so high.

Although all LDP presidential candidates are calling for the
continuation of the refueling mission, they have yet to present any
convincing plan to the New Komeito and the public. The "Japan-U.S.
alliance in a global context" that started during the Koizumi
administration is now at a crucial stage.

13) Surprise and relief greet the government's decision to withdraw
ASDF from Iraq

ASAHI (Page 37) (Excerpts)
September 12, 2008

The government on Sept. 11 revealed that it planned to withdraw by
the end of the year Air Self-Defense Force (ASDF) personnel from
Iraq. After almost five years of activities in a "combat zone" in
Iraq, suddenly everything will stop. Although surprise has spread
across the Defense Ministry and the Self-Defense Forces, there were
senior officials and officers who took the news with relief on their
faces. On the other hand, the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF)
continues to supply fuel for the multinational force operating in
the Indian Ocean. Those involved in the peace movement will now be
watching carefully to see what the government's next move will be.

Sept. 11 was the day marking the seventh year since the terrorist
attacks on America. The Defense Ministry held an event in which an
appeal was made about the importance of the war on terror, and
instructions went out from Minister Hayashi to senior officials. One
senior uniformed officer could not conceal the surprise on his face
about the news.

The ASDF has dispatched three C-130 transport planes from Komaki
Airbase in Aichi Prefecture. As of Sept. 10 this year, the planes
have carried out 768 flights. Although the aircraft transport
multinational and United Nations personnel as well as materiel, in
fact, most of the work is reportedly related to U.S. troops.

Since the C-130 pilots and maintenance crew are limited in number,
the same personnel have been dispatched repeatedly. There seemed to
be no exit for such dangerous work, with a British Royal Air Force
C-130 having crashed in 2005. But with the news of withdrawal, a
sign of relief passed over the face of one senior uniformed officer.

14) Aircraft washer likely to be moved at Kadena base this month

OKINAWA TIMES (Page 5) (Full)
Eve., September 10, 2008

A new aircraft washing facility is expected to go operational this
month at the U.S. Air Force's Kadena base, sources revealed today.
The new facility, designed to wash large- and medium-sized aircraft,
is located away from the current aircraft wash rack in place, and
has already been completed. Japan and the United States will shortly
hold a meeting of their intergovernmental joint committee to go
through procedures to transfer the new facility to the U.S.
military. The wash rack will now be moved from its current location.
"One of the base-caused sufferings we've had for years will be
mitigated at long last," one local resident said.

TOKYO 00002507 010 OF 010

Kenji Chinen, director general of the Okinawa prefectural
government's cultural and environmental affairs department, and
other officials from the prefectural government requested today that
aircraft noise around the U.S. military's Kadena base and Futenma
airfield be reduced. In response to this request, Masahiro Akase,
director general of the planning department at the Defense
Ministry's Okinawa bureau, explained the aircraft wash rack's

The current aircraft washing facility's location is contiguous to a
residential area of Kadena Town's Yara district, and locals living
there have been affected by splashing water. Kadena Town has
requested for years that the aircraft washer be relocated at an
early date.

In 1996, the Japan-U.S. Special Action Committee on Okinawa (SACO)
finalized a report that recommended Japan and the United States to
relocate the aircraft washer and the adjacent naval tarmac to
Okinawa City. However, their relocation will be completed in fiscal
2010 or later. Kadena Town has therefore requested the aircraft
washing facility be separately relocated earlier than scheduled.

Kadena Mayor Tokujitsu Miyagi welcomed the aircraft washing
facility's relocation, saying: "We've seen no progress in their
action to relocate the tarmac, so we negotiated to move at least the
aircraft washing facility to another location that is far from the
residential area in the town." With this, the mayor stressed that he
would continue to work on the government to relocate the hardstand
at an early date.

Atsuko Ikehara, 64, the principal of Eiko Yochien, a kindergarten
near the aircraft washing facility, said with a relief: "We always
hear U.S. military aircraft's roaring engine sounds, and this has
been a heavy burden on the children here, too. It took so many

Kadena Town's Higashiku district is across from the aircraft
washing, with Route 74, a prefectural road, in between. This
district has been troubled with splashing water that wets laundries.
"We wanted that facility to be relocated," said Toshio Shimabukuro,
who represents the district. "It's good to lighten the burden for
local people," he added.

Kensaku Nakamoto, 35, an auto sales firm employee, voiced concern:
"I'm sure the cars here will not be wet. But I'm worried that they
may do engine adjustments there in that space."

Chinen and other prefectural officials requested the Okinawa Defense
Bureau work on the U.S. government to regulate noise in a strict
manner and abate noise so as to clear the environmental benchmark.

Meanwhile, the Okinawa Defense Bureau conducted a monitoring survey
of aircraft paths around Futenma airfield from this month. "We have
yet to see the results, but we will let the local residents know the


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